Brainy Quote of the Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Antikythera Mechanism...

Image Source: Link below
Topics: History, Physics, Research

This sounded like an Erich von Däniken pseudo-scientific spoof, so in the vernacular of the young: I initially gave it the "side-eye." I was once an admitted early convert (hey, I was 10) and read a few of his "Chariots of the Gods" themed tomes and Carl Sagan. Plus, aliens have the same physical laws - assuming similar Earth-like conditions - that we do, so it is quite plausible early engineers had the skills to fabricate such a device. It's mechanical, not Silicon after all. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth ~2,200 years ago (see again old-school Cosmos and Carl Sagan). Though thoroughly debunked, Erich still seems to have a continuing spot on "Ancient Aliens" (YouTube is a wonder). After reading this and other posts a bit more, I was okay with putting it up and not giving ET undue credit.

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered by sponge divers in the waters off the coast of Greece in the year 1900. The device, manufactured by ancient Greeks, is composed of interlocking gears and dials. For years, scientists believed the mechanism was used to calculate the positions of planets, eclipses and other astronomical phenomena. New research suggests, however, the device may have been used as a primitive computer.

Advanced imaging techniques were utilized to decipher thousands of characters printed on the mechanism that have remained a mystery until now. After 10 years of investigation, researchers believe the mechanism was a primitive computer designed to predict the future. Investigators are comparing the ability to read these characters to obtaining the operating instructions for a mechanical device.

Roughly 14,000 characters are engraved on the device, of which approximately 3,500 are now deciphered.

"Now we have texts that you can actually read as ancient Greek, what we had before was like something on the radio with a lot of static. It's a lot of detail for us because it comes from a period from which we know very little about Greek astronomy and essentially nothing about the technology, except what we gather from here. So these very small texts are a very big thing for us," said Alexander Jones of New York University.

Tech Times: Was Antikythera Mechanism A 2,100-Year-Old Computer? James Maynard

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